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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1312

Senator O'BYRNE - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Minister has explained to the Senate that the whole Jetair business was a technical error or breach of a Treasury regulation. I ask the Minister: Is it not a fact that the documents tabled yesterday in the Senate show that the purchase of those aircraft caused great concern to senior public servants in 4 departments? Did not the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr Shann, say it was very disturbing to see the details of the orders which were given to him by the Secretary of the Department of Supply? Further, did a senior officer of the Department of Supply, in a minute to Mr Cooley, ask what grounds there were for restricting the purchase to Jetair and what grounds there were for considering $275,000 a reasonable price? Does the Minister believe therefore that this is mere trivia and that the transaction was a technical error under the Treasury regulation?

Senator WRIGHT - I regret that it is too late in question time for me, with appropriate length, patience and detail, to explain this matter to the garbled understanding of Senator O'Byrne. If he will put the question on notice a careful reply will be given in writing which he can study at his leisure.

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